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When a "Delayed" Milestone is Right on Time
When it comes to developmental milestones, there can be a lot of pressure for babies to reach them in a certain window of time. While it is agreed that all children are different, and there is plenty of room for a range of timing, after a certain point, your pediatrician may become concerned and advise testing and possibly therapies to help reach the goal. For Elvie, many of the gross motor skill milestones weren’t even on the radar prior to her first surgery, and our experience has been that she does not reach them at the same time as most of her peers. We knew this would be the case, but I do sometimes wish that she could do all the things that the other toddlers her age can do. However, the longer I mother my determined little girl, the more I recognize that not only is each milestone a little miracle, and we are incredibly privileged to watch them unfold, each one has also been right on time for her and for us. There is one milestone in particular that she has reached just when she needed to.
Elvie is walking independently! Not just two or three steps, but across rooms, and pretty much anywhere she wants to go. She still prefers to hold hands, but if none are available, she doesn’t hesitate. She is incredibly proud of herself, and we are proud of her, too. While we weren’t certain she would progress this far before her next surgery, we are thrilled, because this is indeed right on time. We leave for vacation in a week, and she is going to have so much more fun now that she can get around upright. Walking on her own means less stroller time, more adventures, and fewer holes in knees of her pants. She’ll be able to walk into the water at the beach and stroll through markets. With the look of joy that is on her face when she walks, she will attract even more admirers than ever.
Walking is not the first milestone that has been on delay that we feel Elvie has reached perfectly for her very own schedule. Crawling, rolling over, and even eating solid foods came when she was ready, not according to the usual schedule, and every time it was a joy when it happened, never a disappointment. And just like with walking, the timing of each of those milestones was just right in other ways, too. If you have a child who is not reaching a milestone (or maybe a few), be encouraged. Your baby will get there, and the celebration will be even bigger.